From Zeek, if not now, when? And if now, why? A review of Jews and American Popular Culture. Nazi propaganda and the Holocaust: A review of "Davon haben wir nichts gewusst!" Die Deutschen und die Judenverfolgung 1933-1945 by Peter Longerich and The Jewish Enemy, Nazi Propaganda during World War II and the Holocaust by Jeffrey Herf. A Woman Out of Time: In 1938, at the height of U.S. isolationism, Americans devoured Phyllis Bottome's chronicle of a German-Jewish family's struggle to survive under the Nazi regime. A new issue of Open Letters Monthly is out, including Onion Skins and Grass Cuttings: Joanna Scutts is judge and jury over the reviewers of Gunter Grass’s Peeling the Onion, who rather too frequently forgot they were supposed to be considering a book; and reading a book rendered from Polish to French to English is like playing a game of Telephone. Andrew Crocker expounds on the pleasures of translations.
From The Believer, a look at The Official Guide to Official Handbooks: The rich legacy of putting others in their cultural place; can fiction be music? A review of Vain Art of the Fugue by Dumitru Tsepeneag; and what losses can language recover? A review of Notebook of Roses and Civilization by Nicole Brossard. A review of The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language by Christine Kenneally.
From Radar, My Bare Lady: An interview with Dita Von Teese, burlesque goddess of the boho set, on manners, maturity, and the problem with Marilyn. From Cafe Babel, pixel pirates, VJ-ing and Ars Electronica: Digital arts make their mark in all different artistic genres. A virtual journey. A review of E.O. Hoppé's Amerika: Modernist Photographs from the 1920s. From TLS, an article on subjective dread, self-dramatization and intimacy in Pugin's first work as an architect. From Sign and Sight, he story of the potato: Peter Michalzik talks to Luk Perceval and Thomas Thieme about self-loathing, the Dalai Lama and Moliere.
Joshua Fairfield (Indiana): Anti-Social Contracts: The Contractual Governance of Online Communities. Roman Catholic missionaries must reap a virtual harvest of cyber-souls in the kingdom of Second Life: this is the new instruction to the faithful. The new American way of death: Morbid curiosity and ridicule have replaced respect for the deceased at MyDeathSpace, where your life is an open book — even when you're 6 feet under. It’s Like YouTube Without the Cute Kitties: Next New Networks will pay for user-generated content and package it pretty. A monkey versus a dog. Who would win in a fight? Wikipedia has the answer, but sometimes being a source of such answers comes at a price. Here are the best undiscovered clips on the Web.
From Open Democracy, responsibility and neo-liberalism: The triumph of neo-liberal globalisation is also the imposition of a new mode of governance of institutions and individuals, to which the idea of responsibility is central. Grahame Thompson examines this achievement and assesses what can be done to address it. From American, a review of The State After Statism: New State Activities in the Age of Liberalization by Jonah Levy; and a review of How Countries Compete: Strategy, Structure and Government in the Global Economy by Richard H.K. Vietor. The two most powerful jobs in global economics - - leadership of the IMF and the presidency of the World Bank - - are still old-fashioned stitch-ups. An epidemic of white jeeps: Aid is well-intentioned and the recipient countries are truly needy, a curmudgeonly and heretical thought occurs: is this overkill?
From YaleGlobal, an essay on Interrupting a History of Tolerance (and part 2 and part 3). Getting Comfy With Genocide: Is the word losing its power to shock us into action? Don't Worry, Be Happy: Things are not going as badly in the world as most people think. From Radar, an article on the the Most Powerful People You've Never Heard Of. Nelson Mandela marked his 89th birthday with the launch of a group, including ex-presidents, with "almost 1,000 years of collective experience" to deal with problems that governments are unable or unwilling to confront. A review of The Invisible Cure: Africa, the West, and the Fight Against AIDS by Helen Epstein. Extremophile Journalism: The role of science journalists in the developing world is more important than ever. Are volunteer vacations, the so-called voluntourism industry, merely overpriced guilt trips with an impact as fleeting as the feel-good factor? Or do they offer individuals a real chance to change the world, one summer jaunt at a time?
A review of Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy by Matthew R. Simmons. The Other Failed Invasion: Somalia is shaping up to be another disaster in the war on terrorism. Michael Scheuer on Al-Qaeda's theological enforcer: Libyan Abu Yahya al-Libi seems to be assuming the unique position of insurgent-theologian. Iraqi resistance groups are waging a devastating guerrilla war against British and US forces. Their leaders talk about plans for a united front and how they have come to hate al-Qaida for its indiscriminate killing. Irrelevant Exuberance: Phillip Carter on why the latest good news from Iraq doesn't matter. What explains the apparent paradox of America’s battered global image on one hand — and booming U.S. global earnings on the other?
From National Journal, who making what in the White House: The numbers are in, from the White House chief of staff to the most junior assistant. Form The Hill, the latest edition of the 50 Most Beautiful People on Capitol Hill. A small but growing number of lobbyists who volunteer their services for a really special set of special interests: They're helping nonprofits push legislative agendas, asylum-seekers get citizenship and monuments get designated as federal landmarks. Downtown Geekville: The chief lobbyist for the Marijuana Policy Project has short, clean-cut blond hair, and wears crisp, dark suits and conservative red-and-blue patterned ties. There is not a hint of dope pusher about him. He doesn’t even have a tattoo. Summertime, and living in DC is easy: An ode to the beauty and contradictions of our nation's capital in the dog days of August.
From The American Interest, Francis Fukuyama on The Kings and I. Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. on how it's the 1930s all over again. Samantha Power reviews the US Army/Marine Counterinsurgency Field Manual; Containment: Rebuilding a Strategy Against Global Terror by Ian Shapiro; On Suicide Bombing by Talal Asad; and The Edge of Disaster: Rebuilding a Resilient Nation by Stephen Flynn. Why the anti-war movement doesn't embrace the Iraqi resistance: A response to Cockburn. From The Weekly Standard, for nearly 200 years, cadets at the United States Military Academy have been guided by the "Thayer System," a rigid structure of unyielding regulation, austere discipline, fierce loyalty, and strong emphasis on math, science, and engineering. After two centuries of success, it might be time to make some changes.
From Commentary, Terry Teachout on Our Creed and Our Character. Creation Myth: A review of The Fourth of July and the Founding of America by Peter de Bolla. A review of Americanism: The Fourth Great Western Religion by David Gelernter. What does it mean for something to be "un-American"? The real questions are what do we want to be as Americans, and what do we want our country to represent? An interview with Kevin R. C. Gutzman, author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution. "I didn't like Nixon until Watergate": Rick Perlstein on why conservative ideology, as it is lived in the real world, is in its way as abominable as Leninism. An interview with former senator John Danforth on how “moral values” have polarized America.
The introduction to Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them by Philippe Legrain (and an interview). A judge in Pennsylvania strikes down Hazleton's anti-immigration law. How will the ruling affect the community, and immigration policies throughout the US? Time for a more radical Immigrant-Rights Movement: Congress's failure to pass immigration reform legislation is being used to crack down on undocumented immigrants in several states. Now supported by a multimillion-dollar industry: An excerpt from Once Upon a Quinceanera: Coming of Age in the USA by Julia Alvarez. From TNR, Strangled by Roots: Steven Pinker on the genealogy craze in America. From PopMatters, a review of Know What I Mean? Reflections on Hip-Hop; Is Bill Cosby Right? or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?; and Holler If You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur by Michael Eric Dyson (and more on Is Bill Cosby Right?).
From National Journal, Beyond Trade Adjustment Assistance: Clive Crook on why the country needs a better safety net for displaced workers – not just for those who lost their jobs because of trade. A new study addressing the plight the American worker in a global economy tries to solve economic inequity through tax policy rather than systemic change. A much broader vision is required. Bogus Europe Envy: What's behind corporate America's disingenuous new campaign to cut its taxes. Family-Leave Values: Do workers have a fundamental right to care for their families? The latest front in the job-discrimination battle. GOP moms between a rock and the hard Right: A Republican Congresswoman describes her life as a working mother to a room full of young conservative women. Mixed messages abound.
A review of Second Philosophy: A Naturalistic Method by Penelope Maddy. A review of Explaining the Cosmos: The Ionian Tradition of Scientific Philosophy by Daniel Graham. A review of Non-locality and Possible Worlds: A Counterfactual Perspective on Quantum Entanglement by Tomasz F. Bigaj. Quantum Computing, yes, no, or both? The past 60 years have seen a phenomenal growth in the power of information technology, with almost every aspect of our lives now reliant upon some form of micro-processor.
Planets are popping up all over the galaxy, but, while we can detect them, tantalizing details are beyond our reach, and a look at the top 10 most intriguing extrasolar planets. Of Cosmic Rays and Dangerous Days: Long-term cycles in the sun's orbit may have influenced evolution on Earth. A review of The Edge of Evolution by Michael Behe. Monkeys seem to learn the same way humans do, a new research study indicates. Do chimps have culture? What can we learn from the fact that chimps can teach each other. A Very Singular Revolution: Research finds experimental evidence that supports a controversial theory of genetic conflict in the reproduction of those animals that support their developing offspring through a placenta.
The Real Transformers: Researchers are programming robots to learn in humanlike ways and show humanlike traits. Could this be the beginning of robot consciousness — and of a better understanding of ourselves? A review of A History of Modern Experimental Psychology: From James and Wundt to Cognitive Science by George Mandler. A review of Self-Consciousness by Sebastian Rodl. A review of The Self Awakened: Pragmatism Unbound by Roberto Mangabeira Unger. A review of Self: Ancient and Modern Insights about Individuality, Life, and Death by Richard Sorabji.
From Reason, would you give up your immortality to ensure the success of a posthuman world?; freezing or uploading: Which road to immortality would you choose?; more on lust, longevity, and FDA reform at the World Future Society Conference; and peace and prosperity through productivity: Can economic growth solve all the problems in the world? Eternity for Atheists: Is God necessary for immortality? Jim Holt investigates. An interview with Jeffrey J. Kripal, author of Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion. A review of Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia by John Gray. A review of Better Than Both: The Case for Pessimism by Peter Heinegg.
From PopMatters, a review of The Mysterious Case of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys by Carole Kismaric and Marvin Heiferman. Move over, Prep and Harry Potter — Taylor Antrim has written the great American (or is that Korean-American?) boarding school novel, The Headmaster Ritual. The “golden age” is an apt term for the inter-war whodunnits – it describes exactly what these novels were trying to regain or create, after the horror and chaos they had just passed through. Somehow, cyberspace and the real world switched places: An interview with William Gibson on Spook Country. Race, the final frontier: Black science-fiction writers bring a unique perspective to the genre. Do novels fall into two classes? Anthony Burgess argued that novels were engaged either with the world, or with language. A striking claim, but not a very convincing one. Author Laura Albert must pay nearly $350,000 in legal fees, triple the amount a jury said she owes a production company.
From ReadySteadyBook, A Defence of the Book: Many of the most vehement advocates of new technology in education, as an alternative to books, are frankly advocating a novel species of illiteracy. Off the Shelf: Ever dreamt of weeding out the excess books in your office? Scott McLemee interviews a professor who did the deed. Book collectors discover a small market when they try to unload their treasures. From Britannica, an article on the Book as Object: Books and bytes; and Dewey isn’t synonymous with library, and the demise of his system doesn’t mean the downfall of libraries. A library bigger than any building: An ambitious project to create an online catalogue of every book in every language ever published is under way. Public goodwill is not in doubt, but some libraries remain to be convinced.
From New York Press, an article on the Official History of Music Video. A review of All That Glitters: Living On The Dark Side of Rock & Roll by Pearl Lowe. I'd Like To Dedicate This Next Song to Jesus: An article on the freaky origins of Christian rock. Heather Mac Donald on The Abduction of Opera: Can the Met stand firm against the trashy productions of trendy nihilists? From Sign and Sight, tradition, revolution and reaction in Bayreuth: Marianne Zelger-Vogt on Katharina Wagner's ambitious Bayreuth debut with the "Mastersingers of Nuremberg". An excerpt from Sketches from a Secret War: A Polish Artist’s Mission to Liberate Soviet Ukraine by Timothy Snyder. From PopMatters, an essay on The Sydney Morning Herald and the cultural life of Sydney. An interview with Elif Shafak, survivor of a court case, on her renewed love for Turkey's multi-ethnic heritage.
Bias and the Beeb: The BBC stands accused of promoting a leftwing agenda, sometimes in the name of altruism. Although it is legally required to be "impartial", is it time to question whether this is desirable, or even possible? Lessons From an Ex-Murdoch Man: As the editor of the Sunday Times, Andrew Neil witnessed just how Rupert Murdoch uses his newspapers to advance his personal interests. The Murdoch Journal Watch: Having bagged his trophy, how long will it take Rupert to bugger it?
From Dialogi, when will words become actions? A look at how homophobia and xenophobia, falsely parading as free speech, has entered the Slovenian political mainstream. From 2000, transition or transitions? "Incomplete regime change", "interrupted revolution", "geo-political paradigm shift". Accounts of the transition in eastern central Europe have tended to emphasize particular features to the exclusion of others. The new European century: Europe's long-term influence depends as much on its neighbours' human rights records as their supplies of gas and oil.
From NPQ, an interview with Richard Holbrooke on Iraq, the Balkans and Turkey. The lesson from Turkey: Islamist parties that follow the rules should be allowed to win elections. Turkey's corset of modernisation: Zafer Senocak on the legacy of Turkey's modernisation and the AKP's electoral victory. Deconstructing Islamist Participation: All Islamic parties are not equal – understanding the differences is essential for confronting democratically elected mullahs. God-Fearing People: Why are we so scared of offending Muslims? Christopher Hitchens wants to know.
From Prospect, Balochistan's rebels: Is the US providing covert support to Baloch rebels in Iran? If so, what does this say about its support for Musharraf in Pakistan? Some see him as a reformer and the West's ally, but others believe he's a dictator who secretly supports the Taliban. With the recent violence in Pakistan and elections on the way, General Pervez Musharraf finds himself under siege. Can Musharraf survive? Immanuel Wallerstein investigates. Dennis Ross on how a president should engage with despots. Selling Arms to the Saudis: Is Washington manipulating Riyadh, or is it the other way around? From LRB, The Rise of the Private Army: A review of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army by Jeremy Scahill.
An '08 free-for-all: For the first time in decades, the conventions may pick the candidates. Show-Off Nation: How our consumer obsession with originality and authenticity affects our taste in political candidates. Linda Hirshman.on how to use philosophy to help the Democrats. The Unions’ Man? John Edwards does more than talk the talk on workers’ but will he walk away with labor’s endorsement? Letters From the Past: Hillary Clinton's 40-year-old correspondence reveals nothing about her candidacy. Astrologers Agree: Obama faces Machiavellian enemy—but he may boast a potent "leadership chart" just like Bill Clinton. If you want to be President, you can't be afraid to step into a cartoon.
From The Mises Institute, an article on why government can't make decisions rationally. Who's for Big Government: One of the most predictable arguments is also one of the most useless: that politics comes down to a choice between being for "big government" or "small government". A review of A Power Governments Cannot Suppress by Howard Zinn. Form Political Affairs, Of Marx, Christ, and the Persecution of Radicals: How will humanity survive the capitalist threat? From Communalism, Janet Biehl on Theses on Social Ecology and Deep Ecology; Eirik Eiglad on Theses on Power; and an essay on Anti-Semitism in the Socialist Tradition. The right fights for the right: An Atlanta gathering features luminaries of the white nationalist movement. Cosmopolitan Si, Multicultural, No: The common culture may not be what it once was (and maybe it never was), but it is still enough to keep the conversation going. Restore truth and beauty to the Internet! Help cover Frum’s face!
From Christianity Today, a review of God's War: A New History of the Crusades by Christopher Tyerman; and yes, there are still Freemasons, including a reported 1.8 million members in the United States. And if the unconfirmed anecdotes ct editors hear regularly are to believed, Masonic cliques still wield power in several places. For the Love of Xenu: Scientology may be a bizarre faith invented by a sci-fi hack. But it's not a cult. Face to faith: Studying the Inquisition can help to distinguish between the best and worst of religion. From Skeptic, two reviews of The Physics of Christianity by Frank Tipler.
An interview with Brendan Sweetman, author of Why Politics Needs Religion: The Place of Religious Arguments in the Public Square. Cathy Young on Jerry Falwell's Paradoxical Legacy: Political victories and cultural failures. The return of Jesus "could be any time": An interview with Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, authors of the Left Behind series. Millions believe the world's first openly gay bishop The Rt Rev V Gene Robinson is the Antichrist. Dangerous nonsense: Faith is not a form of mental fortitude, but an absurdity — which can give rise to atrocity. An interview with AC Grayling on atheism.
This is your brain on love: When you're attracted to someone, is your gray matter talking sense — or just hooked? Scientists take a rational look. Seven Deadly Sentiments: Evolutionary psychology helps us understand why we are ashamed of having forbidden thoughts that make us feel like lousy people. It tells us that these shameful feelings are hardwired—strategies that led to success on the Pleistocene savanna (and a primer). After exhaustively compiling a list of the 237 reasons why people have sex, researchers found that young men and women get intimate for mostly the same motivations (and more). Science of Sex: Scientists have now discovered that there are three separate sex drives that control the rules of the mating game.
From Literary Review, a review of Unknown Quantity: A Real and Imaginary History of Algebra by John Derbyshire. An excerpt from How Mathematicians Think: Using Ambiguity, Contradiction, and Paradox to Create Mathematics by William Byers. Want to be good at science? Take lots of math. Alexis Lemaire has broken the record for finding the 13th root of a 200-digit number. It's an incredibly hard calculation so how does the "human calculator" do it? Researchers pinpoint the neurons responsible for figuring out how things add up.
From The New Yorker, where have all the bees gone? Elizabeth Kolbert investigates. A review of The Other Insect Societies by James T. Costa. A Brief History of House Cats: It may be that "nobody owns a cat," but scientists now say the popular pet has lived with people for 12,000 years. Walk This Way: Humans' two-legged gait evolved to save energy, new research says. A new study suggests human beings can run long distances because we carry multiple copies of a gene that helps supply our cells with energy. From NYRB, a religion for Darwinians? H. Allen Orr reviews Living with Darwin: Evolution, Design, and the Future of Faith by Philip Kitcher. In games, an insight into the rules of evolution: Martin Nowak’s projects may seem randomly scattered across the sciences but they share an underlying theme: cooperation.
Philip Zimbardo, author of The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, on Person X Situation X System Dynamics. From Discover, an article on 10 Unsolved Mysteries of the Brain: What we know—and don’t know—about how we think. Who’s Minding the Mind? The subconscious brain is more active, independent and purposeful than once thought. Sometimes it takes charge. A sampling from the oeuvre of Albert Ellis, the pioneering psychotherapist and inventor of rational emotive behavior therapy, who died last week at 93.
From The Chronicle, universities should support a broader concept of publishing in the digital age, a long-awaited report says. From Inside Higher Ed, Sailing from Ithaka: There’s a new report on the future of digital publishing in academe. Scott McLemee thinks you should drop everything and read it posthaste. An interview with Loriene Roy, the new president of the American Library Association, on the future of library science. A behind-the-scenes tour of Oxford academia: A review of Remnants of a Quiet Life by Henry Harris. Trading $80 Wine for Cheap Cookies: An administrator reflects on the transition from a wealthy private university to a public institution. How do you stop young people deserting a deprived area? Opening a university could be the first step; and competitive spirit: Don't knock today's degrees, your country needs them. The Cult of Speed: College rankings are a crutch that too many students and families use to avoid a thoughtful search for the right fit.
A review of The First Word The Search for the Origins of Language by Christine Kenneally. Linguists seek a time when we spoke as one: A controversial research project is trying to trace all human language to a common root. A sampling of the strange, unexpected shapes that English takes around the world: A review of Rotten English: A Literary Anthology. Ariadne's thread: Thousands of literary texts are now available online, all submitted by volunteers. Is this the most enlightened initiative since English studies was invented? Lost in the blogosphere: Why literary blogging won't save our literary culture.
From The New Yorker, Louis Menand on the biography business: A review of Shoot the Widow by Merlye Secrest and Biography: A Brief History by Nigel Hamilton. As he set out, albeit unwittingly, to change the literary landscape, Jack Kerouac started off by going the wrong way. Clive James interviews Ian McEwan, P.J. O'Rourke, and more. Monda’s World: Antonio Monda is arguably the most well-connected New York cultural figure you’ve never heard of. A review of Lex Populi: The Jurisprudence of Popular Culture by William P. MacNeil. An obsessive deference to fame, and an all-consuming preoccupation with it, has become the defining mark of our culture. But why? Literary chic: J.K. Rowling and other female authors are releasing their inner fashionistas along with their novels.
Television, how novel: People who hate television love to talk about it, not realizing they could be spending their time improving their minds—with novelizations. Todd Levin looks at the best of the oeuvre, with and without Steve Urkel. Conservatives learn to say "ay, caramba": Nearly one-third of The Simpsons’ adult audience describe themselves as conservative. From Nerve, here are the 50 greatest sex scenes in cinema. The Fetishist Next Door: The all-American appeal of Bettie Page. The Intellectual Showman: Whether or not they like his work, scholars have plenty to discuss in the career of Stanley Kubrick. Flying Solo: Paul Cantor on The Aviator and libertarian philosophy. Political theatre in a post-political age: This PhD thesis gauges the contemporary landscape of political theatre at a time in which everything, and consequently nothing, is political. Out of the Fringe and Into the Spotlight: Independent artists are using festivals like Capital Fringe to push political theater — and their pet issues — into the mainstream.
A review of The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It by Paul Collier. Into Africa: Investors eye globalisation’s final frontier. On Paper It Is Writ: From history's beginning, globalization has had winners and losers. A study suggests globalization will stall unless the gains are spread more evenly within nations. Third world way: The UN Global Compact may be the best way to draw corporations into the development process. Is its optimism justified? Five Lies My Economist Told Me: Economics prides itself on being the most scientific of the social sciences. Yet the X and Y axes can’t always capture globalization’s unpredictable turns. A look at five ways in which the world economy is pushing economists to think outside the box.
An interview with British diplomat Carne Ross, author of Independent Diplomat: Dispatches from an Unaccountable Elite. John Gray on how the wider conflict now engulfing Iraq lays bare the absurdity of liberal interventionism - - and the decline of US power. Like most liberal "war hawks", the Brookings "scholars" Michael O'Hanlon and Ken Pollack falsely pretend that they were critics of the Iraq strategy to save their own reputations. Out How: Michael D. Intriligator on the economics of ending wars. The Genocide Card: Rick Perlstein on conservatives' laughable moral upsmanship on the subject of leaving Iraq.
From Reason, is he good for the libertarians? Why some libertarians don't want to join the Ron Paul revolution. Why the Republicans don't like their candidates: The GOP front-runner isn't Fred Thompson or Mitt Romney. It's "none of the above". Fred Thompson, Neocon: He has a strong claim on the neoconservative heart, and if he ends up in the White House, the moribund neocons will rise again. Jonathan Chait on Fred Thompson, humble country lobbyist.
How much worse a president would Rudy Giuliani be than George W. Bush? Kevin Baker counts the ways. See Rudy Run: Why Giuliani, despite everything, remains the Republican frontrunner. From Vanity Fair, Giuliani's Princess Bride: Judith Giuliani always dreamed big, which got her out of small-town Pennsylvania, through two marriages, and into the arms of Rudy Giuliani. But, as her husband runs for president, people are asking, "Who does she think she is?" White House, right spouse: The political wife is rising, but she is wary of partnerships that blur the professional and domestic divide.